Law Report: Case Summaries

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The following notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

Compulsory purchase

Waltham Forest BC v Secretary of State for the Environment; QBD (Owen J); 19 Feb 1993.

Where there was a proposal to substitute other 'equally advantageous' land for common law being compulsorily purchased in order to build a new motorway link road, the number of objections, more than 800 in this case, was an important factor in considering whether, under s 19 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981, a public inquiry should be held; but so was the relative clarity of the issue, and if, despite the number of objections, the issue was quite straightforward, and had been fully covered in the objectors' written submissions, it was hard to see how the Secretary of State could be helped by a public inquiry. In such a case, it was entirely reasonable for him to conclude under s 19(2) that it was not 'expedient' for him to call one.

Richard Langham (Borough Solicitor) for the council; Stephen Richards and David Holgate (Treasury Solicitor) for the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Transport.

Greenwich LBC v Secretary of State for the Environment; QBD (Hutchison J); 19 Feb 1993.

In determining whether land, offered in exchange for ancient woodland such as Oxleas Wood, Greenwich, (designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest under s 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) which was being compulsorily purchased in order to build a new trunk road, was 'equally advantageous' to the public within s 19 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1989, the Secretary of State was not required to look at the way the public enjoyed all aspects of the original land to see whether the exchange land was equally advantageous to them. He was entitled to a degree of flexibility in deciding whether advantages of one sort could be offset against advantages of a different sort. The appropriate time for this comparison was when the exchange would take place. It was permissible, in deciding whether at that date the exchange land would be equally advantageous, to have regard to predicted future developments which would affect either or both parcels of land. But it was not permissible to approach the equation on the basis that future developments would result in the exchange land, not equally advantageous at the date of exchange, later becoming equally advantageous.

Nigel Pleming QC (Bindman & Co) for the individual objectors; Jeremy Morgan (Borough Solicitor) for Greenwich; Stephen Richards and John Howell (Treasury Solicitor) for the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Transport.


Charlesworth and ors v Focusmulti Ltd and ors; CA (Russell LJ, Hollis J); 17 Feb 1993.

Where the plaintiff obtained judgment against the defendant in default of defence before the time for serving the defence prescribed by RSC Ord 18, r2 had expired, the judgment was incapable of being cured and therefore was fatally flawed and a nullity and the defendant was entitled to have the judgment set aside as of right without consideration of the merits. The judgment was not capable of being cured under RSC Ord 2, r 1.

Richard Hacon (Hepherd Winstanley & Pugh, Southampton) for the defendants; Nicholas Aspery (Martineau Johnson, Birmingham) for the plaintiffs.

Revenue Moodie v Inland Revenue Commissioners; Sotnick v Same; HL (Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Templeman, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Browne-Wilkinson and Lord Mustill); 11 Feb 1993.

A tax avoidance scheme involving the sale of an annuity to a charity by the taxpayer to reduce his total income under the predecessor provision to the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988, s 348 failed because it was a self-cancelling scheme within the principle in W T Ramsay Ltd v IRC (1982) AC 300. An identical scheme had succeeded in the House of Lords in IRC v Plummer (1980) AC 896. If the court was faced with inconsistent decisions, it was entitled and bound to follow the later, correctly decided, case.

Alan Moses QC, Launcelot Henderson and Peter Cranfield (Inland Revenue Solicitor) for the Crown; Michael Burton QC, Andrew Thornhill QC and Kevin Prosser (Berwin Leighton) for the taxpayers.